One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest

Samantha Cruz
July 31, 2013
AP Literature
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
“’”I know it’s the Big Nurse by the way the lockworks cleave to the key, soft and swift and familiar she been around locks so long “’” (4). The year is 1963 and Nurse Ratched, also known as Big Nurse, unlocks her entrance doors to the Oregon State Hospital where she spends most days using intimidation and injections of unneeded dosages of medication to control innocent men into thinking they’re mentally weak and unstable to handle life outside their insane asylum home.   The narrator of Ken Kesey’s novel is Chief Bromden, a six foot seven inched half-Native American inmate who sometimes suffers from hallucinations and pretends to be a deaf mute to escape being in daily group confrontations with the Big Nurse; he’ll spend his days mopping the asylum, getting in on all the doctor’s secrets. Billy Bibbit, Dale Harding, and George Sorensen are examples of an “Acute” or men “the doctors figure them still sick enough to be fixed” (14); who’s other inmates are the “Chronics,” men who’ve been turned into vegetables or spend days roaming the ward in their wheelchairs. Thinking of a way to serve his sentence of rape and gambling charges in comfort, Randle McMurphy strolls into the asylum as a way to escape working on a prison work farm but came with an annoying rebellious reputation and goal to make the Big Nurse quit her job within his week of arrival. Bromden and the other men rapidly befriend the fast talking McMurphy who gives them hope that they are capable of making their own decisions, they’re strong men physically, and don’t always have to follow all the rules given by the Big Nurse because she’s too manipulative.
McMurphy is under the impression that his immature games and tantrums will get to the Big Nurse then her crew will realize she’s a harsh dictator to them; he starts off by singing obnoxious songs in the shower room early in the morning while the men are still sleeping and the...